Lok Sabha Poll Schedule after Gauging Situation in States, Says CEC; Speaks Out on Chandigarh Mayor Election Row


Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. (File pic/PTI)

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. (File pic/PTI)

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar on Wednesday said that his team will visit Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir to assess the preparedness before announcing the dates for the polls. While referring to the Chandigarh mayor election row, Kumar also said that no such practice can be allowed

The Election Commission of India has started back-to-back visits to states to gauge the situation ahead of the Lok Sabha elections to be held in a few weeks. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar on Wednesday said that the team will visit Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir to assess the preparedness before announcing the dates for the polls.

The poll body team, headed by Kumar, has already visited Andhra Pradesh in January and made consecutive visits to Odisha and Bihar since Friday. It ended the Bihar trip on Wednesday and will begin the Tamil Nadu tour on Thursday.

“We are starting our Tamil Nadu tour from tomorrow. Back-to-back tours have been planned. We will also go to Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir to assess the situation, and only after that polls will be announced,” Kumar said while speaking to the media in Patna.

The terms of the Lok Sabha and the assemblies in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim will end in June. These four states will witness simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections. In 2019, the parliamentary polls were announced on March 10. The counting of votes took place on May 23.

Bihar has 40 Lok Sabha seats with more than 7.64 crore voters. Over 9.20 lakh first-time voters will exercise their franchise on the day of polling. There will be around 77,400 polling stations in Bihar with on average 987 voters at each.

Kumar also said that the poll body tries to hold elections in a minimum number of phases. He said the number is decided keeping several factors across the nation in mind.

“Weather, exams, holidays, movement of the forces are kept in mind while deciding the number of phases but we try to keep it minimum,” he added. In 2019, the Lok Sabha polls were held in seven phases between April 11 and May 19.

While referring to the Chandigarh mayor election row, Kumar also said that no such practice can be allowed. He said any polling party, agent, or anybody be it the district magistrate or superintendent of police involved in the election process will not dare to do something like what happened in Chandigarh. Kumar also said that the system does not allow anyone to do such things.

“Candidates are involved in every step. There is no step where there is no transparency,” he said. “We are answerable and we make it clear that all polling personnel have to follow procedures. Any violation in the process will face ruthless action from the commission.”

In the Chandigarh mayoral election held last month, returning officer Anil Masih was caught on camera invalidating and discarding votes cast in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party candidate Kuldeep Kumar. The issue reached the Supreme Court, which declared the AAP candidate the winner on Tuesday.



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